The View From The Loft: The Christmas Tree

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By Jim Coleman, The View from the Loft

By now you’ve all probably made the trek up the attic stairs, out to the garage or to the workshop to bring those festive boxes of ornaments down to begin the ritual of decorating the Christmas tree.

The nice thing about loft living is that the fake tree and the ornament boxes reside under the stairs along with a bag of potting soil, three paintings that I don’t have room for, a watering can, a lamp shade and the ice chest.  As I labor through this I’m reminded of my envy of my cousin who has a 9-foot permanently decorated tree that lives in its own closet in the den year-round and simply rolls into place for the season before you can take two sip of eggnog.  Oh, to be rich and famous!

Remember what a genius you were last year when you systematically packed those boxes in logical order and in groups that would make this year’s task as simple as possible?  Well, something or somebody has been messing with my stuff because this all looks like the same random pile of glass and glitter as it does every other year. Maybe your choice of refreshments when you were taking it all down has something to do with its current state.

Seriously, this ritual gives us all the chance to one again touch all these things and remember the people and events that resulted in these treasures being placed in this box.  There are things made of glass, popsicle sticks, school photos, crystal, carved wood and plastic. Every kind of Santa known to man, the Nutcracker characters, stars, angels and souvenirs from trips make ornament boxes a potpourri of memories.

For me, the treasure I always look for in the box is a plastic gumdrops tree.  It’s 65 years old, I’m sure it came from the dime store in Thomasville, Georgia, and I’m sure it’s made of environmentally unfriendly plastic from 1953 and would not be allowed in stores today because of its jagged arms and sharp points (amazing how we survived this long!).  I remember sitting at my mother’s chrome and blue Formica top dinette placing each candy in its rightful place. This year my 30-year-old daughter was visiting and returning from a Target run came in with a bag of gumdrops, which she carefully placed on the fragile little tree.  As I glanced up from my party preparations, for a brief moment it was 1956 and my shabby chic table was suddenly made of blue Formica. I treasure all the beautiful things in these boxes and what they remind me of but for me, it’s all about a little plastic gumdrops tree.

OH!!  If you are younger than 30, ask your grandmother about dime stores and Formica

(Jim Coleman is twice retired as a financial advisor and flight attendant. A theatre geek, musician, arts administrator and preservationists, he lived a relatively obscure life until he crossed paths with Corby Winters. Jm choose Newnan as his new forever home five years ago and is dedicated to making our community the best it can be.)

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